Dawg Blog - Fresno State

Back from Norman, Okla., the Washington Huskies (1-1) are ready to take on a foe from the WAC, Fresno State (1-1) this Saturday at Husky Stadium. The game was picked up for a 3:30 pm start by Fox Sports Northwest television.

End of the Game

Clearly, Willingham knew that taking a knee was the only play to make, despite his offense being three feet away from taking all doubt out of it. But with each knee taken, the celebration on the UW sideline just kept getting bigger. At the end of the game, the team went over to the students section and sang the fight song - louder than they probably have in their lives. A huge win for the Dawgs, and also a 'statement' win.

Sweet redemption for Mesphin Forrester, as he picks off Brandstater and takes it back to the FS 1-yard line, everybody on the sideline going crazy with him as he ran down the UW side. After he was tackled, it was as if the weight of Husky Stadium had been taken off the UW team and placed squarely in the column under 'Wins'.

The Huskies are left with 4th and 2, an obvious punting situation and Douglas produces a great kick, down inside the FS 15-yard line. A false start penalty later and the 57,012 that are still left in Husky Stadium are screaming their lungs out.

Stanback runs for a first down, forcing FS to use their timeouts. But UW needs to stay in-bounds and keep the clock going. Stanback, in his high-flying and ground-churning ways, needs to keep the ball in his hands.

Just when you think the Washington D is going to break through for the team win, Brandstater shows his guts by running for a first down. It keeps a FS drive alive, one that would have an exclamation point in the form of a Dwayne Wright touchdown. But Caesar Rayford, all 6-feet-7 of him, blocks the PAT and Husky Stadium goes berserk. UW 21-20, but it isn't over yet.

The UW defense is giving it all they have, but that killer instinct still escapes them. On a 3rd and 8, Brandstater is all but bottled up by Stevens, and throws out a prayer to Williams. Williams answers the call, eludes C.J. Wallace and gets the first. FS is a tenacious bunch, no question about it.

The receivers are redeemed! With one play, Sonny Shackelford erases all the bad plays the receivers had up to that point in the half. He went up high against FS's Vincent Mays and came down with the Stanback pass in the end zone. It was nice to see Captain Husky get his chance to rip something up and lead the UW faithful in a H-U-S-K-I-E-S, Huskies, Huskies, Huskies! chant. That's always a sign that the home team is putting points on the board.

That was a statement call by Lappano and it was the right call to make in going to Russo right off the bat. And Stanback is starting to tuck and run when the play dictates. He sure isn't a natural slider, but he definitely gets the job done.
Third Q thoughts

Mark Pattison is this week's Husky Legend. Ironic, considering this team could sorely use a guy exactly like Pattison to get them the some 'sure hands' plays. The UW offense needs something to really help them along, something to give them a spark.

If I was Stanback right now, I'd take a lot of my frustrations out on the receivers. He is getting very little help from them, especially the leaders of the group, guys like Anthony Russo. With this team they can't be making fundamental error after fundamental error on offense. It's a good thing for the offense that the defense has (apparently) gotten up from their halftime slumber.

Reece comes to the rescue on a third-and-ten. Stanback, as much as it looks like he has happy feet in the pocket, showed great composure, found a few seconds to scan the field and found Reece, a huge target. FS is not putting a big rush on Stanback, so he should be looking to reset on a number of pass plays.

A nice stop by the Huskies in their own end, and then another 'sudden change' play - although it may not show up in the boxscore as a big deal...the Bulldogs quick kick on fourth down and it's looking like a genius call...until the FS player responsible for downing the ball at the one completely whiffs on it, and the ref signals touchback. The Jumbotron just showed UW Head Basketball Coach Lorenzo Romar, and he got a huge ovation.

It's become death by a thousand paper cuts. Washington is bending to the Bulldogs' will, but they aren't doing it in huge chunks. Just first down by first down, slowly but surely.

Make no mistake about it, FS is just creasing UW at the line of scrimmage. At the beginning of the game I felt that UW had to win the battle of the trenches, but it's no contest right now.

It's happening again, Husky fans...

This Washington team has the killer instinct of a fruit fly. The receivers and tight ends especially, are letting this team down when they need to be making third-down catches. It's very disheartening.

Washington gets the ball and immediately look like they coming out meaning business, but Marcel Reece dumps the chippy from Stanback on the turf and out comes the punt unit.

Conversely, FS looks like they have come out with a purpose. It takes them three plays to go 51 yards to knot the game up, on a pretty pass from Branstater to Paul Williams. When is this Husky team going to come out with some fire for both halves of a football game? It's something that has plagued them for over a year now.
Halftime thoughts

It's interesting to note that instead of going straight into the tunnel, Pat Hill got his guys around in a circle for a good minute and he appeared to be pretty animated in the middle of that circle. I'm pretty sure he felt that the first half was a sub-standard brand of FS football.

Here are some quickie stats for the first half: Washington has 75 rushing yards and 102 passing yards. FS has 86 rushing yards and 53 passing yards. Stanback has 51 yards and a score and Dwayne Wright has 82 yards and a score.

Stanback is 10-14 for 102, Brandstater is 4-9 for 53. Anthony Russo has 3 catches for 25 yards, and Marcel Reece, Quintin Daniels and Johnie Kirton each have two catches. Paul Williams has 3 catches for 28 yards. Washington leads in the time of possession battle, 16:55 to 13:05.

The offense has responded, now it's the defense's turn. Third-and-three in UW territory, and the FS offensive line has just been pushing Washington around. And the guys in purple come up with a huge play, forcing a FS field goal attempt, which was horrendously missed left. Poor snap, poor hold, poor kick...definitely not something you expect out of a Pat Hill-coached team.

It's fitting that Rankin's play gets called back, because that just gave Lappano a chance to call Isaiah's number. He does, and Stanback takes it around left end untouched to put Washington up 7. Other than FS's first drive, the game up to this point has to be considered a monumental success for UW.

A 'sudden change' it was, with Stanback showing all Husky fans just what they've been waiting for him to do...use his speed and elusiveness to drive defenses nuts. His roughly 35-yard run through the heart of Bulldog country was a sight for sore eyes. Then Louis Rankin scored on the next play around end, but it was brought back to the five-and-a-half yard line, despite protestations from the student section, chanting 'Husky Touchdown!'

First big 'sudden change' play of the game possibly coming up...4th and 1 at Washington's own 47. A nice, solid drive up til now...and Stanback is definitely making smart choices. Let's hope that trend continues.

Welcome back Quintin Daniels! It's nice to see the senior from LA contributing again.

Baer gambles again and comes up aces on a Scott White blitz, forcing a FS punt. White really laid him out. Washington now needs to answer with some run game. Right now the FS defense is really beating them to the punch on the line of scrimmage.

The FS offensive line is having their way right now. It's not pretty. And even when the FS running backs are bottled up, they fall forward. They do all the little things right.

The Huskies force their first three-and-out, but can't do anything with it. FS is doing what I would do...stack the box, bring players and force Stanback to throw. When he throws, he seems to be making good decisions, but he's still tucking it in way too quickly and boxing himself in to just one avenue to go. He needs to keep plays alive.
End of First Q

Lewis is a liability today with his lack of tackling...it's become very apparent that Dwayne Wright is going to be a load to bring down, but instead of holding onto his lower body and waiting for his teamates to help, Lewis is going up top, losing leverage and ultimately losing Wright. Wright probably had 30 extra yards that quarter on missed tackles by Lewis alone.

A well-orchestrated drive by Stanback...stayed patient...took what the Bulldogs gave them. Kept his composure on third-and-goal, escaped the rush and found Johnie Kirton for the score. It was neat watching the play develop. I was saying to myself, 'there he is' .... seeing Kirton come open in the back of the end zone...and Isaiah hit him square in the numbers. That has to be a very uplifting drive for the Washington offense. It doesn't appear as if FS is going to give anything up the middle, so Tim Lappano is going to have to get a little creative as the game goes on.
3:23/1: Welcome to Washington, Mr. Marcel Reece...with a deft little hand-move (push?) Reece was able to get just enough separation to make a long catch on a third-and-20. A huge play that hopefully the Dawgs will capitalize on.

Reece just came up big again taking a pass out wide for a first down just outside the 5.

I just double-checked and Goldson is definitely suited up.

It looks like Goldson might not even be suited up today. I'm trying to confirm that. Roy Lewis is having a super-rough game so far early, but just redeemed himself by jumping a slant route, giving Scott White enough time to bring FS's QB down.

Offensively, it looks like Pat Hill is going to dare the Huskies to run between the tackles, so UW is going with the shorter passes right now.

And just when UW needs to answer a drive with one of their own, Sonny Shackelford dumps an easy Stanback pass onto the field turf, forcing a Husky punt. A pretty inauspicious start for the home team - in fact, just about the opposite of what they wanted.

FS went through UW's defense like machaco beef - shredded. That was as poor a job of holding onto assignments and tackling as Baer's D has displayed all year long. They play that way, and this game is going to be over before it even started.

Baer is already showing that he wants to be really aggressive, bringing Roy Lewis on a blitz off the corner, but FS gets the ball out one-on-one in the same direction for a big game.

Looks like they also so intent on trying to strip FS's ballcarriers that they have forgotten to wrap up first, stand them straight up and THEN go for the ball.
5 minutes before gametime...

Things look a little better than they did already against SJSU...the crowd looks a little more alive, they seem to be a little louder (more tailgating perhaps?) and it just feels like UW football is getting back there in spirit - even if it still feels like Husky Stadium is half empty.

As the Bulldogs come out of the tunnel, I think about UW's keys for the game. Washington wins the toss and defers. The wind that was blowing in earnest about 10 minutes ago is gone.

The Huskies HAVE to keep the turnovers to a minimum, they have to get productive play out of their quarterback and they have to win the battle of the trenches and special teams. A hefty order, but when you play against a team that doesn't typically beat themselves, you have to play nearly flawless football. They have the players that can compete...let's see if they can do so for 60 minutes.

First tackle of the day made by frosh FB Paul Homer...
10 minutes before gametime...

Waiting for the band to do it's normal pre-game ceremonies, and noticed that the wind is really blowing out of the west. It could definitely make a difference in the game.
30 minutes before gametime...

Maybe it's just because all the band folks are here, or maybe it's just because there's a little nip in the air, but it finally feels like football season at Montlake.

Louis Rankin, Kenny James, Scott White and Tahj Bomar are going to be today's captains, as they broke the team down after warmups.

I know a lot of people are calling today 'Separation Saturday' because of all the top-ranked teams playing one another, but I like what John Clayton said earlier today on his radio show on KJR. He said that today's FS-UW game wasn't a critical one for the Huskies; rather it's a 'statement' game, one that can either show the Huskies that they are on the right path and that Tyrone Willingham does have this team doing the right things and playing the right way...or show that they still have a ways to go before getting to the point where they can compete for bowl games, let alone Pac-10 championships.

And since only a handful of these 'separation' games have conference ramifications, I think 'Statement Saturday' has a more truthful ring to it.
(9/14/06 4:56:00 pm)

Afternoon Willingham briefing

Said that there was nothing new on the injury front, and guys like Cody Ellis that were out before the SJSU game are still out.

Quintin Daniels, who did play a few snaps at Oklahoma, is still available, and could play more. "He put himself in a position to get snaps," Willingham said, based on his play in the spring, but he was hampered by a hand injury in fall camp. "He's steady and smart in his play."

Asked about Marcel Reece and Willingham said that he anticipated that we wouldn't see the 'real Marcel Reece' until around game 'five or six', just because of the transition from JC ball.

Asked what things FS brings to the game on Saturday, and Willingham said that they have a talented running back, a talented offensive line, anchored by a center that could be an honors candidate at the end of the year and speed at receiver. Also said that the QB is talented.

Asked about whether or not UW is similar to where FS is right now ('looking in the mirror, what would they see?'), and Willingham said that from a philosophical point of view, Washington wants to get to where FS is, but realisitically they have not evolved in terms of being physical, being smart and being efficient yet - but philosophically Washington wants to be where FS is right now. Later, when talking about UW fullback Mark Palaita, Willingham said 'he is the mirror', meaning he's the rough, tough, competitive leader he likes to see his guys being.

Said that Stanback has had a good week of practice. He started out slow, but like the competitor that he is, he has bounced back from the OU loss.

Asked about playing in the rain possibly on Saturday, and he quipped, 'This is Seattle, right'? Said that they normally do those things to prepare (wet ball drills, etc...), but that it didn't appear as if it was going to rain come game time.
(9/13/06 3:48:43 pm)

Willingham afternoon briefing...

Said that Tuesday's practice was good and the team put together a good effort, but that Tuesday's are tough because it's the first day where they are really going full-on with installing the game-plan for that week and it's tough to 'initiate' that plan the first time around.

Said that Stanback's mood is good right now. Said that when you lose, it's supposed to hurt, because if you didn't have anything invested in it everyone would always be 'loose and carefree'.

Also said that the team hasn't put together a full week of practice that would be up to his expectations. 'Focus, confidence and intensity all have to be there and in the right place'.

Said that Douglas and Braunstein stood out for 'Victory Club' because of their ability to handle high snaps and executing what they were able to. Same with Kenny James and Louis Rankin. Asked about why a player like Scott White - who had 12 tackles, a pick and a fumble recovery against OU - didn't get in the 'Victory Club' and he said that there were still some things about his play that just didn't pass muster.

Asked about how, as a team is growing up, do they deal with the issue of having confidence despite not having a ton of success, and Willingham said that you hope you have coaches on staff that have had success and they can impart what they know about it and that hopefully you have older players that have tasted some success and they can also help the younger players understand what it takes. 'They can become your leaders'.

Asked about whether or not UW will have to play perfect footballl in order to beat FS, a team that normally doesn't beat themselves, and TW said that they know the Bulldogs will make some mistakes, but at the same time Washington has to be perfect 'in a lot of areas'.

Nothing new on injury or academic fronts. Asked about Goldson's ankle and he said that it's still very much a week-to-week thing in terms of how much playing time he'll get, and that it's probably going to be that way for a while until he gets completely healthy.
(9/13/06 1:58:28 pm)

Spoke with Defensive Coordinator Kent Baer...

...and he didn't have a ton of new thoughts about the defense and how they are performing, mostly just believing that if UW can be more consistent on defense that they have a fighting chance against a physical team in Fresno State.

Said he was happy with his defense standing up to a physical OU team last week, and that's a good thing heading into this week.

Said he's known Pat Hill for a long time and he 'likes to play a physical game. If you're known for playing anyone, anywhere, any time, you have to be physical to be able to do that'.

Said that Dwayne Wright is a better inside runner and that Paul Williams and Joe Fernandez might be the best '2 receiver combination' they've seen to date.

Said he's pretty pleased with his front four. 'We put a lot of hits on that kid (Paul Thompson)'. Said he feels they are doing a better job of that than what they did last year. Also said that they probably blitzed more in that game than they normally have, but at the same time, 'good teams can physically limit what you do'.

Said the key to Saturday's game is consistent play from the whole defense. Said that they aren't going to try anything 'outrageous' against FS and said that no one has tried to do that against a Pat Hill-coached FS team. Consistency is what he's looking for.

He added that he hasn't been able to do everything that they'd like to, saying there's still plenty in the playbook that hasn't been explored.
(9/13/06 1:39:57 pm)

Spoke with DB's coach JD Williams...

Said that he never even knew about the FS game when he signed on with Washington and it 'would have been the last thing on my mind' anyways.

Said that he usually talks to his brother Paul (WR for FS) at least once a week or at the worst a couple of times a month, but this week is the 'most I've talked to him in a long time', but they don't talk about the game. JD said that he mainly just wanted to see if Paul was OK after taking a huge hit against Oregon. He's fine and will play on Saturday.

Asked what the biggest issue for his secondary right now, and he said it's all about confidence. Said he's dealing with a 'crew that hasn't experienced a lot of success', but if they start believing they can, they'll make plays. He said that he knew there would be a certain lack of confidence going into the season, but that they've been getting better each week.

Asked how emotional the game is going to be for him, and he said that it's not going to be that bad for him because he's not playing, but that maybe it'll affect Paul a little more. 'After the game we'll be able to celebrate a little, but it won't be like that during the game'.

Asked if he watched the 2004 game, and he said he has. Said FS has some different personnel and coordinators, but at the same time their basic philosophy hasn't changed much since he was coaching there.

Asked about how the coaches can help take the confidence gained in practice out to the field, and he said that his coach at FS, Jim Sweeney, said that confidence comes from previously experienced successes, and that the more his guys make plays early on, it'll create that confidence they need.

Said that the formula for beating FS will be taking away their 'base runs' and forcing them to become one-dimensional. 'If we can do that, we'll win the game'. Said that it's a proven formula.

He added that if FS does have a big play through the air, his guys have to forget it, just like they have to forget any earlier play. 'If they can play one play at a time, they'll be fine'.

Said that he very much had the same situation at Cal, with similar personnel, and the 'turning point' was having early success.

When asked how he measures success (not lot of passing yards, getting turnovers, etc...) he simply said 'winning'. 'Just winning. That's the only real measure of success'.
(9/13/06 12:46:43 pm)

Spoke with LB Scott White...

...and he said that he and Fresno State RB Dwayne Wright go way back to Skyline Pop Warner. Wright's uncle coached White early in his career. 'Wright was always the RB, always No. 32. I'm happy to see him out there and healthy and doing what he's doing'.

Said that he's a better inside runner than Adrian Peterson. Said he's a 'downhill, bruising runner' who is going to bang on you and wear you down if you let him. Said they missed a tackle on a long TD run Wright had to 'seal the deal' against UW in 2004.

Asked about the 2004 FS game and he said that was a game they could have won, a game that could have really helped them out in a season where they obviously struggled a lot. Said they had some troubles offensively turning the ball over. 'We let it get away'.

Asked about what other matchup problems FS presents, and White immediately mentioned Paul Williams. 'Obviously the wide receiver (Williams). He caught a big play against us that set up a touchdown. Said that OU had success throwing the ball down the field, so he expects FS to try and go out there and do a lot of the same things.

Asked about whether or not 'getting them back' for the 2004 loss could be seen as something symbolic, and White said that the team has broken up the season into four quarters, and they will be finishing up the first quarter of their season on Saturday. 'And if we can get the win and finish that first quarter 2-1, it's going to be a huge boost for our team morale and will give us more confidence going into league play'.

Said that he was 'wrong' on the interception. 'I was supposed to blitz'. But he got the 'gift' interception. Said the fumble recovery, he was 'johnny on the spot'. 'I didn't really do anything, it was just great plays by Chris (Stevens) and Daniel (Te'o-Nesheim)'.

Added that when you see teams like USC get a lot of turnovers, it's because they just happen to be at the right place at the right time. 'And if we can continue to work hard and get after people, those kinds of plays will be more prominent in our defense'.

Asked about what, in general, the defense needs to do differently to eliminate some of the pass defense concerns, and White said that people need to remember that it takes all 11 guys to play pass defense. The front guys need to get pressure, and the DB's need to hold up their end too.
(9/13/06 11:33:41 am)

Coach's Corner

Click HERE to find out how Coach Baird sizes up the Fresno State Bulldogs.
(9/13/06 10:13:14 am)

FS: a watershed game for Stanback and UW

Derek Johnson opines about what the next couple of games could mean for the future of Isaiah Stanback as Washington's quarterback. Click on the link HERE for the full story.
(9/12/06 5:04:37 pm)

Afternoon Practice Observations...

Victory Club - Kenny James, Louis Rankin, Sean Douglas and Michael Braunstein.

Spider Gaines was in attendance, as well as a scout for the 'G men', the New York Giants.

Robert Lukevich was working on his knee that was injured during the spring game, and frosh DT Derek Kosub sat out warmups with what was described as a 'minor toe' injury.

DE Anthony Atkins was out there in his No. 55, but he did not have pads on.

It appeared as if Michael Houston and Shelton Sampson again had the duties of playing lead RB for the service team. Last week it was Adrian Peterson, this week it's No. 32 - Dwayne Wright.
(9/12/06 2:34:58 pm)

Just spoke with OL coach Mike Denbrock...

and he said that it was a 'great experience' his OL went through last Saturday. Still a 'thousand' things they can be better at and they need to get back to work.

Asked about the run game and he said they are happy with what it has been so far, but it's a 'week-to-week' thing that they have to be constantly working on and perfecting.

Asked about Adrian Peterson's comment about the P-10 being softer than the Big-12, and Denbrock said that they talk about those things, but 'it's up to them to decide on what they want to latch on to for motivation'. It was a big them for them and they needed to show up and be their best, and they showed up at times and didn't at other times. They need to play for four quarters with the attitude and intensity that they showed early on.

Asked about FSU's reputation for their tough play, and he said that they've built that reputation of by 'doing it'. Said UW is working towards and they want to be known as the same kind of team.

Said that he's more focused on getting wins and that if they are doing that and running the ball effectively, the 1,000-yard rushers will take care of themselves.

Asked about the difference between the first half and second half and he said that it was a 'number of different things'. Said that some was based on their relative inexperience and also their inability and inconsistency in handling the pressure. 'If defenses bring pressure and you don't do a good job of handling it, you're going to see more of it'.

Also said that if they do their job of handling the pressure, defenses won't be so inclined to bring it all the time.

Asked about his tackles and he said that they've played 'OK'. He's looking for consistency at all the positions. Heading into the season, they knew where their inexperience was, but the tackles have 'chipped in and done their fair share'.
(9/12/06 2:05:41 pm)

Just spoke to OT Ben Ossai...

and Ben had committed to Fresno State before taking an official visit to UW out of Stockdale HS in Bakersfield, and ultimately felt like UW was the best situation for him. 'I fit in better up here, so that's why I'm here'.

The Huskies, ironically enough, were the very first school to start recruiting Ossai, but it wasn't Willingham. It was during the final year of Keith Gilbertson's tenure.

Asked how Pat Hill reacted when Ossai told him he was going to UW, and he said that he understood. 'He was cool about it. It was just a choice I had to make'.

Said that it's 'basically my hometown that I'm playing against'. Said that there's going to be added pressure because there are going to be so many family members and friends watching him and he wants to do well. 'But it's another game, and we do what we have to do to win'.

Said that he knows Tyler Clutts, Kyle Young (his host on his recruiting trip) and some other guys from Bakersfield HS and Mojave HS that he played against that are playing for FSU, but he's not expecting it to be like a high school game where everyone knows everyone.

Said that he feels like he's getting better every week, and that the whole line has been helping him out. 'We've grown to be a family, just like we're supposed to be'. Said that ideally they don't play the whole game, because if the offense is doing what it's capable of doing, then everyone gets to play.
(9/12/06 1:35:24 pm)

Just spoke with Offensive Coordinator Tim Lappano...

Said that the Oklahoma game wasn't one of Stanback's better games, but he's placing all the blame on himself for not getting Isaiah prepared the way he needed to. 'The teacher hasn't taught it if the learner hasn't learned it yet'.

Said that they had a great 1-back game against SJSU, but had problems against OU. Conversely, they didn't do very well in the 2-back game against SJSU but got 'all they wanted and more' from it against OU, at least initially. Said it's that lack of consistency that is hurting the offense right now, but he said that positive out of it is that all of it can be fixed.

Asked about the decision about bringing Bonnell in and he said that it was a joint decision between himself and Willingham to give Carl a shot in 'mop-up duty'. They made a decision after Peterson scored that the game was out of reach, so they wanted to get Bonnell in there for some game experience because he hadn't played at all last year and also because there's an implicit understanding that he's just one hit away from getting in the game.

Lappano tried to 'ease him in' with some running plays, but he said except for the first throw over the middle, Carl threw it just like he had in camp.

Said that the one thing he's glad about in relation to Stanback is that this last game really stung. Lappano said that IS was 'devastated' on Sunday and still very hurt on Monday, but today he came out with a smile on his face. 'Sometimes he just wants it so bad that it ends up really hurting him'. He added that IS needs to turn this 'temporary setback' into a 'comeback'.

Asked about what he expects from Fresno, and Lappano said that he has a lot of respect for them and Coach Hill and that they are where Washington wants to be in terms of toughness. 'I think they are going to play harder than Oklahoma'. They are really big inside with a couple of 330-pounders ('It's going to be heavy sleding in there') and they have a shut-down corner in Marcus McCauley. 'They love to hit you. I'm expecting a very physical game, but they are coming off a stinger themselves (Oregon game)'.

Said that the team 'really believed' they could win going in at halftime at OU and that they came out of that game with some confidence. Said that a couple of years ago, it would have been a 55-10 game.

What they need to do now to build on that is play for four quarters and finish four full days of practice. 'We need to grind all week long'.

Asked about why the passing game isn't up to where the run game is and Lappano said it's because things need to be shored up in all areas; more consistency in their route-running, more protection up front so IS isn't scrambling for his life and more accurate passes from the QB when he does have time to throw.

Asked about Louis Rankin and whether or not he's faster than last year, and Lappano said that 'he's as fast as he needs to be' and that 'he really eats up angles'. Said that 17 carries a game is perfect for him to keep him fresh and running at 100 percent throughout the whole game.
(9/12/06 1:04:32 pm)

Just spoke with QB Carl Bonnell...

and he said that he was actually expecting the call a little sooner because the coaches waited until after Adrian Peterson scored before telling him, so he only got a 'few seconds' to warm up. Said it was a 'good experience'.

It was his first game action since the San Jose State game in 2004, when he started the game but left before halftime with a groin injury. Said that he was 'overly enthusiastic' going into the huddle, but after the first couple of plays he settled down and got his composure back and scored.

Asked if he ever thinks about the reasons why he goes into a game if it's something other than injury, and he said that you try not to. 'Football can be a big head game, so you try and take that out of it'.

Asked about the success he had at Oklahoma and how that could make it tougher on the coaches to name a starter for Fresno State, and he said that just because his name was called means he has a 'foot in the door', and going out and playing well is good enough for him. 'Isaiah has the spot and I'm sure he'll have it for the next few weeks, barring injury'. Added that IS is the guy that everyone looks up to.

Asked about the 2004 game against Fresno, and he said that he remembers only going in for a series or so, but he remembers a lot of turnovers and a brand-new offense. 'We weren't clicking on all cylinders. I think we went through all three of our quarterbacks'.

Asked about playing the 'backseat QB' on the sideline watching Stanback play, and Carl said that all of them try and do their parts to help out. Also said that coming into halftime, IS said that he knew he was overthinking things and that he was trying to get things slowed down.

Asked about whether or not the Fresno State game could be a 'make-or-break' game, and Bonnell said that they placed some importance on the Oklahoma game because it was on the road against a top-15 team. 'It was a litmus test for us'. And he felt that UW beat OU for the first half. Added that he feels that UW has not reached their potential yet.

Said that the 'carrot' of the bowl game is always out there, and that the Fresno State game is just one more game they can win to try and help them achieve that goal.

Asked about his family situation and how it's been trying to juggle all his new responsibilities (he was married over the summer). He said it actually hasn't been bad at all because his wife works 10-hour days and they don't see each other until dinner, where they can talk about their days.
(9/12/06 12:37:55 pm)

Just spoke with RB Kenny James...

and he said that he's not going to approach this game any differently than any other game, but of course there's a little more 'juice' to it just because he's from Dos Palos, which is about 45 minutes away from Fresno.

Said that he really wanted to stay close to home but also wanted to have the experience of what it was like to be away from home for a little while. Said that 'I'm comfortable in the situation I'm in and that if I had to do it again I'd do the same thing'.

Said that football at Fresno State is 'big down there' and that Coach Hill has a reputation of going after underrated guys.

Asked about the offensive line and whether or not he ever had any doubts about their abilities, and he said no. He said that he knows how how they work and how good they can be. He added that they are improving every week, and that he and Louis (Rankin) aren't doing anything different but just running hard.

Asked about the differences between the 2004 game and what he expects this weekend and he said in 2004 there were too many mistakes, but this year they've really improved from that point on and 'they can only get better'.
(9/12/06 12:12:21 pm)

Week 3: UW vs. FSU...

Dawgman and Rico put together this week's preview on the Bulldogs. Enjoy!

Week 3: UW vs. FSU
(9/12/06 11:37:36 am)

Listened to Willingham on the P-10 teleconference...

...and he said that this game is the most important game of the season because it's the next ballgame. But one ball game should not change the kind of effort you put out every week.

Fresno State is a big ball game, and can influence where they end up in terms of their goal of getting to a bowl game.

Asked about the OL and who stood out - he said it was an 'OK game' for their guys. Didn't have a game with dominant play, so it's exciting to think of where they could go.

Asked about Paul Thompson as a passer, and TW said he had a 'pretty good day'. Said they knew he was already a good QB and athlete, and they didn't want him to 'get well' against them.

Asked about Fresno State and the problems they pose, and he said they play with an attitude. A 'chip on their shoulder'. They are also coached well, and believe their schemes. Said they are preparing for a very physical game.

Asked about Wright and said that someone thought he was a 'poor man's Adrian Peterson', and TW thinks that he's much more of a pounding, inside runner.

Asked if FSU has proven they can play in the P-10 and he said yes.

Asked about finishing a game and TW said that there's an adage that says 'Winners do what losers fail to do', and he showed how Oklahoma took advantage of UW's mistakes to win. TW and staff are trying to show his team how to build off of those lessons to change those negatives into positives.
9/13/06 9:21:00 am)

Some recapped Pac-10 stats (with the P-10 leader in parenthesis)...

Washington is 8th in scoring offense (USC), 1st in rushing offense, 9th in scoring defense (UCLA), 3rd in rush defense (UCLA), 9th in pass offense (ASU), 6th in total offense (USC), 10th in pass defense (OSU), 8th in total defense (UCLA), 8th in kickoff returns (Oregon), 4th in punt return average (OSU), 5th in punting (ASU), 9th in pass efficiency (ASU), 10th in turnover margin (USC), 9th in pass defense efficiency (USC), 7th in first downs (UCLA), 3rd in third down conversion (Oregon), 9th in opponent first downs (USC), 7th in opponent third-down conversions (UCLA), 6th in sacks (ASU), 2nd in sacks against (Oregon), 3rd in penalties (Stanford), tied for 1st in field goals (USC and Cal), 10th in opponent penalties (Stanford), tied for 1st in PAT kicking (ASU, OSU, WSU, Oregon, Cal, UCLA and Arizona), 9th in 4th-down conversions (Arizona and WSU), 10th in opponent 4th-down conversions (ASU, Arizona, USC and Stanford), 6th in time of possession (UCLA), 2nd in kickoff coverage (USC), 4th in red zone offense (USC and Cal), tied for 8th in red zone defense (UCLA and ASU), tied for 1st in onside kick success (Stanford) and tied for 1st in onside kicks allowed (with the rest of the Pac-10)

From an individual standpoint, here is how UW players have fared so far in the Pac-10 (with leaders in parenthesis)...

Louis Rankin is 1st in rushing (128 yards per game), Isaiah Stanback is 7th in passing average per game (ASU's Rudy Carpenter), Stanback is 5th in total offense (Carpenter), Anthony Russo is 10th in receiving yards per game (Cal's Desean Jackson), Louis Rankin is 4th in all-purpose yardage (Cal's Marshawn Lynch), Scott White is tied for 6th in interceptions (5 players tied for 1st), Marlon Wood is 4th in punt return average (OSU's Sammie Stroughter), Roy Lewis is 2nd in kick return average (Cal's Lynch), Sean Douglas is 1st in punting (52.1 average per punt), Kenny James is tied for 5th in scoring average per game (USC's Mario Danelo), James is 2nd in total touchdowns scored (Cal's Jackson), Michael Braunstein is tied for 5th in total kicker scoring (USC's Danelo), Braunstein is 5th in field goals per game (USC's Danelo) and is tied for first in PAT kicking percentage with six other kickers.

Defensively, Washington has six tacklers in the top-50 (Scott White, C.J. Wallace, Matt Fountaine, Roy Lewis, Chris Stevens and Jason Wells). Stanford's Trevor Hooper, a former UW recruit, leads the league with 10.5 tackles per game. Stevens is tied for 3rd in sacks (UCLA's Justin Hickman and ASU's Derron Ware) and tied for 1st in tackles for loss with Hickman and Ware. Greyson Gunheim is 6th in the same category. Gunheim and Stevens are tied for 4th in fumbles forced (three USC players are tied for first - Sedrick Ellis, Dallas Sartz and Keith Rivers).
(9/12/06 12:01:40 am)

Spoke with LB Tahj Bomar...

Asked about Oklahoma, and he said that they went in with the mindset to win and they did their best not to get distracted by the fans or the 'wagon' or cannons going off.

Asked about getting booed. 'The first time I tackled somebody I heard it, but the second, third, fourth time...it finally kicked in...oh, I forgot they had the QB here, Rhett Bomar, that got in trouble, so it's not a popular last name. We had a couple of chuckles in the huddle about it'.

Asked about what he would prefer inside the red zone...an offense coming right at him, or an offense that is willing to try and stretch out the whole field, creating more one-on-one opportunities. He said that they are out there to make plays, so it doesn't matter how they do it, but he then added that he personally prefers to have defenses to come right at him.

Asked about how that falls in line with what Bomar expects to see against FSU and he said absolutely. 'Coach Pat Hill, that's their motto - to be more physical than his opponent. So that's what we plan to do, match their tempo'. Added that he feels he'll be more active on Saturday because they'll probably use more base defense and he'll be able to go against their 'downhill running game'.

Asked about the 2004 FSU game, and he said that he remembered it pretty well. 'We had them on the ropes', but turnovers hurt them.
(9/11/06 11:52:56 pm)

Spoke with OG Clay Walker...

Asked about the Oklahoma game and he said that it felt like a 'special game' but that it just turned out wrong for them at the end. 'That first play was pretty special, though'.

Asked to grade the line, and he said that he would give the OL overall a C or C+. 'We did well with the yardage, but 20 points wasn't going to be enough to win the game'. Added they played hard, but that he feels they can get better.

Asked about red zone issues, and he said that it's nothing that execution won't fix.

Asked about playing both games as a unit, and he said that it's hard to keep the group 'congruent', so to be able to have that happen has been 'very helpful' for them.

Asked about being in game shape because the group plays every offensive snap together, and he said that he doesn't feel that they'll be in any better shape than what they are in right now.

Asked about the 2004 FSU game, and he said that they gave it their all, but FSU 'got one from us'. 'All the seniors that I came in with, we remember all the games we lost and we have a lot of paybacks for a lot of teams this year. This is our last shot to get redemption'.
(9/11/06 11:44:11 pm)

Spoke with OG Stanley Daniels...

He said that they made the right second-half adjustments, but they were too late in the game to get back in it.

Asked about what he looks at on opponents' film, and he said that he looks specifically at the guy he's going up against, what things he likes to do, their tendencies on every down, their favorite moves. 'That helped me a lot last week'.

Asked about the atmosphere at Oklahoma, and he said that it was a regular game. 'It was a big game, but it was also just a regular game...you have to have that kind of mindset'. 'They're wearing pads just like we're wearing pads. They aren't Superman'.

Asked about the continuity on the OL. 'We're always happy when we don't get any injuries'. Also said that they were happy with the way they ran the ball, but they also left a lot of points on the field.

Asked about the 2004 FSU game, and he said he 'remembers every play about it'. 'I remember the manner in which we lost it'. Added that it was their physical play that he remembered most. 'They weren't intimidated by us'.

Said that this UW team should match up physically better than how they did in 2004. 'This game is going to be won up front. The type of team they are, they are going to try and hit us in the mouth. That's the type of game we're expecting, because that's how they play football'.
(9/11/06 11:35:37 pm)

Spoke with TE Johnie Kirton...

Asked about being the main tight end now, and he said that he definitely didn't expect it to be this quick. 'I was hurt that I didn't have them two (Rob Lewis and Mike Gottlieb) to kind of help me out'.

He added that he's 'always up to the challenge' and that he's also glad that his teammates have confidence in him that he can get the job done.

Asked about playing a full game for the first time since basically high school, and he said that his body did start to 'give way' a little bit, but also added that he was mentally prepared. 'I worked through it'.

Said that technique and footwork (the 'little things') are what's going to get him to the next level in his development at UW, things like not just blocking a player, but finishing the block.
(9/11/06 11:29:55 pm)

Spoke with QB Isaiah Stanback...

Said that he's going to do nothing new to prepare for FSU. 'I try to improve on everything, and based off last game, I have a lot to improve on'.

Said he'll get over Saturday's loss 'when we go 10-0 these last ten games'. Added that it was tough and that his fumble was the 'changing point in the game'. 'God allows me to learn from my mistakes so I don't make them again'.

Asked about whether or not he can still take positives from the first half of the OU game, and Stanback said that he felt it was actually for longer than that. 'Prior to me fumbling the ball, we were playing good. We weren't playing bad'.

Asked about the atmosphere, and he said that he's the type of person that doesn't hear crowd noise in the game and 'it's just another game away from home'.

Asked about not being able to finish out the game, and he said that he was disappointed about that. 'I knew I messed and I was trying hard to make up for it', but Bonnell came in and did a great job. 'That's the way it's supposed to be, that's why you have depth'.
(9/11/06 11:23:10 pm)

Spoke with RB Louis Rankin...

He said that he feels that both he and Kenny James have the same abilities in terms of being inside AND outside runners.

Asked about being in the top-10 for rushers in the country right now, and he said that he always knew he had the ability to do that.

Asked about his high school recruitment and he said that it came down to Fresno State and Washington and that he 'thought long and hard about it' before choosing UW. Said when he was being recruited by FSU he got to know Pat Hill pretty well, saying at one point he figured they were talking around three times a week.

Asked about any recent conversations he's had with his uncle, former NFL WR Webster Slaughter, and Louis said that he talks to Slaughter about once a week and that his uncle really tries to keep tabs on how he's doing at UW. 'He just encourages me and tells me to keep going'.

Asked about whether it matters to him who starts and he said that it has never mattered to him. 'It's not a competition. We're all trying to win games'. Said that when James scored that first touchdown at Oklahoma, he was probably more excited than Kenny about it. He feels like he's getting as many carries as he needs. 'When I do have the ball, I just try to take advantage'.
(9/11/06 10:50:00 am)

Just listened to Pat Hill during the WAC teleconference...here are some tidbits.

Said that the UO game was a great football game, and whenever you have two physical teams duking it out like that it's going to be a great game.

Said Washington is coming off a 'heartbreaking loss' to OU, and he expects a 'must-win environment' for both teams Saturday in Seattle.

Paul Williams suffered a big hit against UO at the end of the half. He's a 'little slow' right now but he'll be ready. It's a big game emotionally for him, but once the game starts, he's not thinking about all the family stuff (younger brother to Curtis and J.D. Williams). Very close-knit family but Hill said it's a great opportunity for him to be going up to Seattle.

Asked about the setting at Autzen Stadium for the Oklahoma/Oregon game, and he said that 'there's a buzz to it'. Said the fans keep up the 'pace' while the other team is on offense. Said Autzen is 'right on top of you', said you're 'down inside a pit' there. Said it's nothing OU hasn't seen before, but it's a great crowd that appreciates good football

Asked about FSU being a hard-hitting, physical football team and he said that he set that as a 'personality' ten years ago. Said they want to try and play with that kind of intensity every game. Said the UO game was a Pac-10 football game, and expects the same coming to Seattle. Said UW is a physical football team that can run the ball well and is creating a physical mindset. 'Both teams will bring it'.

Asked about linebacker Marcus Riley and he said that he's hoping to have him against Washington. Said, 'he's a big part of our defense'. Riley went down last year with a knee injury against USC.

Asked about the botched play on the blocked kick, and he said that they teach their kids never to look back at a kick, but some of the UO players went after it, which 'panicked a couple of our younger guys'. Said it was a 'tough lesson to be learned'
(9/11/06 10:21:00 am)

The UCLA game has been picked up by television...

Washington's football game vs. UCLA on Saturday, Sept. 23, has been selected by TBS for a live television broadcast. Due to the selection, the game time has been changed to 4:00 p.m., Pacific Daylight Time.

Currently, the Huskies have three remaining games scheduled for live television broadcasts: this Saturday, Sept. 16 vs. Fresno State (3:30 p.m. PDT on FSN), the UCLA game and the Nov. 18 Apple Cup vs. Washington State (3:45 p.m. on FSN).
(9/11/06 10:06:00 am)

Here's the official two-deeps for the Fresno State game, as released by Washington Media Relations. Not too many changes from last week...
WR         5 Anthony Russo 5-11 185 JR
        21 Sonny Shackelford 6-2 180 SR
LT        79 Ben Ossai 6-6 300 rFR
        70 Morgan Rosborough 6-6 375 rFR
LG        74 Stanley Daniels 6-4 320 SR
        72 Casey Bulyca 6-6 320 SO
C        58 Juan Garcia 6-3 315 JR
        73 Ryan Bush 6-2 305 SO
RG        63 Clay Walker 6-4 305 SR
        65 Ryan Tolar 6-6 325 FR
RT        75 Chad Macklin 6-8 300 JR
        69 Erik Berglund 6-6 290 JR
TE        37 Johnie Kirton 6-3 270 SO
        92 Walter Winter 6-5 250 SO 
        82 Tim Williams 6-6 230 rFR
QB         4 Isaiah Stanback 6-3 215 SR
        11 Carl Bonnell 6-3 210 JR
TB        8 Kenny James 5-10 215 SR
        9 Louis Rankin 6-1 205 JR
        7 Shelton Sampson 5-11 210 SR
FB        43 Mark Palaita 5-10 245 SR
        32 Luke Kravitz 6-1 225 SO
        25 Paul Homer 6-0 225 FR
WR        18 Corey Williams 6-2 195 JR
        83 Marlon Wood 5-10 185 JR


DE        66 Daniel Te'o-Nesheim 6-4 245 rFR
        41 Brandon Ala 6-3 260 SR
DT        91 Donny Mateaki 6-5 285 SR
OR        95 Jordan Reffett 6-6 295 JR
DT        74 Wilson Afoa 6-3 290 JR
        77 Erick Lobos 6-3 285 JR
DE         7 Greyson Gunheim 6-5 265 JR
        41 Brandon Ala 6-3 260 SR
OLB        34 Dan Howell 6-1 225 JR
        20 Kyle Trew 6-2 235 JR
ILB        47 Tahj Bomar 6-2 225 SR
        57 Trenton Tuiasosopo 6-2 240 SO
OLB        4 Scott White 6-1 235 SR
        29 Chris Stevens 6-0 215 SO
OR        22 E.J. Savannah 6-2 222 rFR
FS        26 Jason Wells 6-2 210 SO
        23 Mesphin Forrester 6-2 205 SO
SS        1 C.J. Wallace 6-0 210 SR
        3 Chris Hemphill 6-5 235 JR
CB        6 Matt Fountaine 5-11 180 SR
OR        8 Dashon Goldson 6-2 205 SR
CB        28 Roy Lewis 5-11 187 JR
        23 Mesphin Forrester 6-2 205 SO

Special Teams

P        17 Sean Douglas 6-2 230 SR
PR        14 Michael Braunstein 5-8 185 JR
        11 Michael Book 6-3 195 SR
HLD        11 Carl Bonnell 6-3 210 JR
SNP        49 Danny Morovick 6-3 230 rFR
KOR        28 Roy Lewis 5-11 187 JR
        6 Matt Fountaine 5-11 180 SR
        7 Shelton Sampson 5-11 210 SR
        83 Marlon Wood 5-10 185 JR
FR        83 Marlon Wood 5-10 185 JR
        21 Sonny Shackelford 6-2 180 SR 

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